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jul4 Mar 1st, 2021 06:09 PM

Trip to Yellowstone and Grand Teton in June/july
My husband and i are planning to go to yellowstone and grand tetons this summer. we have flights to and from Bozeman Montana. I was thinking that we would go straight to Gardiner and staying there for two nights. Then driving to West Yellowstone and stay there three nights and then drive to jackson where we will spend our last two days. Do you think that makes sense?

StantonHyde Mar 1st, 2021 08:56 PM

search here--there are so many itineraries for this exact trip. Get reservations NOW. Also, it is much better to stay in Yellowstone--Canyon or Old Faithful (or Lake or Grant Village). Check to see if you can get lodging.

oldemalloy Mar 2nd, 2021 03:07 AM

Good advice from StantonHyde. I just got three nights in OF cabin for this August. Use the phone # as they are aware of cancellations and last minute openings which do not always make it on line.

jul4 Apr 12th, 2021 01:49 PM

This is what I have planned so far. day one-land in bozeman at 11:00 am.and drive to gardiner see things accessible at north entrance
day two -stay at north garnier and continue to explore yellowstone
those two days planning to do -mammoth hot springs. boardwalk to swan lake,roaring pt, norris geyser basin, canyon village
south rim trail. grand canyon of yellowstone, uncle toms trail, lamar valley
(QUESTION ONE-should we stay in gardiner another night or will a day and a half be enough before we go to west yellowstone?)
day three and 4-west yellowstone area - see old faithful, grand prismatic springs
drive, upper and lower geyser loop trails
day 5 drive to jackson(where we need to be by late afternoon for a commitment) and see sights along the way.
day 6 and 7 tour grand teton and jackson -jenny lake loop, hidden falls to inspiration point, colter bay loop. downtown jackson
Day 8 leave early morning
Question Two- what are must sees in yellowstone and grand tetons that i am missing?

Patty Apr 12th, 2021 02:39 PM

Have you checked availability at If you can't find anything inside the park, your plan will work. It will just mean more driving. Get early starts to your day as I expect this year to be even busier than last which was busier than 2019. Also be aware of the road construction projects this year

If you keep the Gardiner/West Yellowstone plan, I would drive the northern road through Lamar Valley on Day 2. You can go to Canyon on Day 3 when you're moving from Gardiner to West Yellowstone. One of the days from West Yellowstone you can drive to Hayden Valley and Lake Yellowstone. Parking for Grand Prismatic tends to be very busy whether you're parking at Midway Geyser Basin for the boardwalk or at Fairy Falls to hike to the overlook. Both of these lots are small and we've had to circle and sometimes give up

Jenny Lake in Grand Teton also gets very busy. I don't know if you're planning to take the shuttle boat or hike the whole loop but last year the shuttle boat was limited to about half capacity due to covid. Not sure what they're doing this year. This is another area to consider getting to early.

andyg5056 Apr 13th, 2021 07:10 AM

We did something like this couple of years ago and it worked out well for us. Saved us lots of long, “return to the room” drives at night, maximizing the time in the N.P.
The only better option would be staying inside the N.P., but only if you’re willing to pay premium for the room.
As previous poster said, you’re a bit late to the Room reservations, unless if you have one booked already. Not sure if they have a limited # of cars allowed inside the Yellowstone per day, they did something like that at the beginning of the pandemic, if so, staying inside the N.P. could spare you long lines and wait at the entrances.

Now, Day 2 is a bit too much planned, I'd do Mammoth Hot Springs and any near by attractions on day 1, The're a quite a ride to the Canyon, and the views are rewarding, but there's a quite of steep hike back up from the Canyon lower viewpoints. I'd try to maybe steal some time from the Old Faithful area and allow more time for the Canyon itself.

Also, please be prepared to alternate your plane weather permitting. There could be some localized thunderstorms going thru some areas.

jul4 Apr 13th, 2021 01:45 PM

Thanks for your responses. We are going to be staying outside the park and will definitely get started early each day-so it seems like you are both thinking i need more time in areas near gardiner. so we land day one and go straight to mammoth hot springs and surrounding area
day two -northern road through lamar valley (sleep in gardiner)
day three yellowstone canyon and then onward to west yellowstone (What else would make sense to do along with that?)
day 4-upper/lower geyser loop
hayden valley/lake yellowstone
grand prismatic springs
What would you recommend in case of rain??

fmpden Apr 13th, 2021 02:19 PM

An umbrella and waterproof shoes. Rains are generally fairly short and generally in later afternoon. It is unusually have an all day or even half day rain.

andyg5056 Apr 13th, 2021 04:03 PM

Originally Posted by jul4 (Post 17231883)
What would you recommend in case of rain??

Not much anyone can do, accept for rain gear and good spirits. But, If I had my pick after we went there, I'd try to coordinate a sunny day with the Canyon. the colors and scenery is unforgettable with Sun shining. And we added an extra day just becouse of the rain. Fortunately we were leaving that day driving back home, so we could do that.
Do not miss the Artist Point. Breathtaking view on sunny Day. Again, mornings are better weather wise.
You plan on spending whole day in Lamar Valley, for us it was a total dud. The animals were so far away... depends on a day. drive thru it, bit we had more and closer animal encounters everywhere else but there.

StantonHyde Apr 13th, 2021 08:11 PM

Check out the website for Yellowstone to find out a out road construction--that can have a big impact on driving around the Park.

jul4 Apr 16th, 2021 08:04 AM

I'm going to take all your suggestions into account and do some more research then ill post another itinerary.

jul4 Apr 26th, 2021 02:12 PM

i'm beginning to think that especially with the road closure mentioned above that maybe we should stay in west yellowstone the entire time rather then splitting our time between gardiner and west yellowstone. anyone have thoughts on that? I was thinking then we'd have more flexibility and wouldn't waste time switching.(i have a place to stay in west yellowstone for the 5 nights)

Patty Apr 27th, 2021 08:07 AM

I'd keep the 2/3 split between Gardiner and West Yellowstone as it's less driving overall. West Yellowstone is not as convenient for seeing the northern part of the park. For example it takes an hour and a half to drive from West Yellowstone to Mammoth Hot Springs vs 15 minutes from Gardiner (this is without taking into account queues at the gate, traffic, bison jams, etc). You can do everything from West Yellowstone if you don't want to move but it's more efficient to have multiple bases due to the size of the park.

jul4 Apr 28th, 2021 07:26 AM

. Reading thru all the things others posted about their trips has only make me understand just how big yellowstone is and how much there is to see.
Feeling a little overwhelmed but here is my latest thoughts. We will stay in gardiner to start but should we sleep there one night or two? maybe we will skip lamar valley-it would be very disappointing to go and not see wildlife. I would love to see other animals but am mostly hoping to see bears(from a distance)

Day one-land in bozeman(at 11) and arrive at north entrance around 2.
go straight to mammoth hot springs, undine falls, tower junction (is that part closed due to the road closure? is that enough for that day or are there other things right there we could do before it gets dark? stay over in gardiner.
Dat two-this is where i am confused what else should we do while we are staying near the north entrance? should we head to yellowstone canyon and surrounding area and then continue on to sleep in west yellowstone ? that would leave us two more full days (day three and 4) in west yellowstone.

(day 5 we will leave to jackson -i will work on the gtnp part of the trip after I figure the yellowstone itinerary out )
day three

Patty Apr 28th, 2021 12:56 PM

Unfortunately you won't be able to get to Calcite Springs or Tower Fall this year due to the road closure. You can take the road that goes to Petrified Tree to look for black bears. They tend to be in this area and around Tower. I've seen grizzlies along the northern road, in Hayden Valley (Canyon to Lake), between Lake and the east entrance and between Mammoth and Norris, mostly at a distance. If you see people with spotting scopes you can stop and ask what they're looking at. A lot of it is just luck and being at the right place at the right time.

On day 2 you can drive through Lamar Valley and then continue out of the northeast entrance along the Beartooth Hwy if that interests you. It's a beautiful drive and you can go as far as you want before turning around. The visitor center in Cooke City has maps. If you decide to do that, I'd spend one more night in Gardiner. But if you feel like you need more time to cover the southern part of the park you can head south on Day 2 and stay in West Yellowstone that night instead.

jul4 Apr 29th, 2021 12:37 PM

Updated itinerary-please give me your thoughts
day one -land in bozeman and drive to north entrance. mammoth hot springs,undine falls, wraith falls, petrified tree,tower falls. maybe swimming in boiling river . Sleep in gardiner.

day two-grand canyon of yellowstone, artists river, uncle toms trail,lower falls, inspiration point norris geyser basin fire hole river and go onto west yellowstone

day three-old faithful, geyser loop trail, morning glory pool, grand prismatic, fairy trail, lower geyser basin trail

day 4-hayden valley, yellowstone lake, storm hole lake hike, mud volcano, west thumb geyser lewis falls
(day5 go to gtnp-stay in jackson then two days in gtnp to still be planned)
am i missing anything that is a kust see in yellowstone? does it make sense how each day is divided? I Really appreciate all the help.

andyg5056 Apr 30th, 2021 08:48 AM

Looks good as a starting point to me. Not sure if you saw THIS MAP HERE:Note the Mountain elevation marked on it, It'll help you understand why 15 miles take around 1 hour to drive, accept for busy areas like Mammoth Hot Springs or Old Faithful.

Few pointers for consideration: Mammoth Hot Spring & Mud volcanoes especially, there’s the smell of an rotten egg in the air, some find it less enjoyable, especially on a hot day. You may plan a whole day there, but will it last???
Be flexible, there are many stops like Mud Volcanoes that lets say 15 minutes stops are mostly enough (per stop). They are close to the parking and not that big to walk around and move on. They are mostly accessible by a very short walk. Watch out for posted signs of the trail walking distance to the attraction. Accept for the one in the Canyon with the switchbacks. Those are a killer to come back up from the lower level of the Canyon viewpoint.

But most of all, don’t try to do the vacation by punching the “score card”, or not taking the opportunity to stop along the drive at some smaller attractions: you may learn that a short stop was better deal than driving back to it some other day. Like the Mud Volcanoes for example. And remember, You don’t have to see every single Geyser out there, you’ll run out of time. Visit Old Faithful, take the walk on that trail to see Glory hole and other geysers and thermal features.
Do not miss the Grand Prismatic from both, the upper and lower trail. After that you’ll decide if you want to drive couple more hours just to see more of them J. Same with waterfalls, After seeing those in the Canyon, be very selective. As I say, don’t warry about what you may miss because you’ll miss what’s happening. Yellowstone is huge, there’s no way to be everywhere and see everything. Prioritize the “Must SEE”, and all other treat as a bonus.
Also, I learned the hard way, you’ll waste a lot of valuable time trying to hunt for bears. Once we even stopped at an attraction parking lot just to find all the people looking up the mountain. As they said, a black Bear just went thru the parking lot and up that hill. We drove around for 45 minutes trying to spot him, nope, we did not. But we were blessed by seeing Black Bear Cub, right by the road on 26, close to Dubois…

Don’t remember if you’re planning on it, But on the way down to Jackson, take a detour to see the Grand Teton National Park. They are breathtaking views there, even if you won’t have time to do any hiking.

Enjoy your trip.

More resources HERE: and HERE:

tomfuller Apr 30th, 2021 11:01 AM

I'll never forget the evening I was driving across the big bridge in Gardiner. I met an elk crossing the bridge going the opposite direction. There is a library within sight of the Roosevelt Arch in the south end of Gardiner.

andyg5056 Apr 30th, 2021 11:17 AM

Originally Posted by tomfuller (Post 17237018)
I'll never forget the evening I was driving across the big bridge in Gardiner. I met an elk crossing the bridge going the opposite direction. There is a library within sight of the Roosevelt Arch in the south end of Gardiner.

And I'll never forget my encounter with Elk, as we were driving from Yellowstone toward Silverthorn, Co., Near Walton Peak, it was majestically standing in the middle of the empty road, at the end of the curve, at 3AM in the morning. Didn't need any more Red Bulls to get to my destination after that.

andyg5056 Apr 30th, 2021 11:30 AM

Jokes aside, this is like every, in Downtown Mammoth Hot Springs. Not my photo, but we've seen young one with his father walking carefully thru the middle of intersection, not being afraid of the cars at all. Without the police escort too :)

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